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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Letter to the Editor

Detractors Should Give Some Thought to Benefits

The Dallas Morning News, Friday, June 15, 2007

Letter to the Editor in response to "Bush Library appears to be a lock at SMU," The Dallas Morning News (6/10/07).

The long-term benefits of a Bush library in Dallas are being deftly overshadowed by short-term ideological arguments and an overall misunderstanding of the role of presidential libraries.

Presidential libraries benefit not only their host universities but also the broader public policy debate. They offer a wonderful forum for debate and discussion, often with little regard to their namesake.

Over nearly four decades, the LBJ Presidential Library has accomplished much and offered vast opportunities for scholars and students, me included. This library and its accompanying policy school have served as wonderful pretexts for studying the past and present, with hopes of a brighter future.

Regardless of one's political views, passing on a chance to create an invaluable educational resource in Dallas would be shortsighted, at best. A simple look at the beginnings and tenures of other presidential libraries show these debates should take place not about them but within them.

Copyright 2007 The Dallas Morning News Company